Apse Manor Forge Pond and Garden 2017

There is a new photo of Apse Manor Forge showing the front courtyard, the hanging baskets and the fish pond. Apse Manor Forge also has a beautiful garden to the rear of the cottage with lawns and beds of lavender but this front courtyard is the view we see when we first arrive at the cottage as part of a holiday on the Isle of Wight.

The grounds and gardens of Apse Manor Forge Cottage are lovingly tended to and are a beautiful place to relax as part of a self catering holiday on the East of the Isle of Wight. Although the cottage is within a short walk or cycle ride of the beach at Shanklin, this rural location is peaceful and calming and seems miles away from the bustle of normal life.

For more photographs, including photographs of the gardens and surrounding areas visit Apse Manor Forge Self Catering Isle of Wight

Outside Photo of Westview 2017

Westview Cottage in Shorwell Isle of Wight has a new outside photo showing its location at the heart of the village. Shorwell is a lovely rural and peaceful location with a small post office and a village pub. Westview is also within a short distance of the coastal bays and beaches along the South West of the Isle of Wight.

The neighbouring village to Shorwell is the larger Brighstone where there are a choice of places to eat and an excellent village shop.

For more new photos as well as a full description, prices, availability and much more visit Westview Cottage Isle of Wight

Barn Whitwell Cottage Available for 2017

The Barn Whitwell is now available for holidays in 2017. This cottage has only recently released dates for the summer holidays and the rest of the year and therefore there is still some availability for busy holiday dates.

This period cottage is located in the village of Whitwell and within a short drive or pleasant walk of Ventnor. The cottage is also within walking distance of Godshill where there are shops and a choice of pubs.

The village of Whitwell is in an excellent walking and cycling area as well as having excellent access to the coast on both the South East and South West of the Island. In the village there is an excellent public house, numerous traditional thatched cottages and a historic church.

For more information visit The Barn Whitwell Isle of Wight

Best places to eat on the Isle of Wight (with incredible views!)

Hillside Restaurant

If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a meal for a special occasion, then look no further than Hillside. Its position perched on a hilltop near Ventnor mean that the sea views offered are panoramic, and you can also take in the surrounding woodland and vegetable garden. The woodland and garden are a hotspot for wildlife, and the garden produces many of the ingredients used in the meals. The rest of the ingredients are locally sourced where possible, and the decor features art from various local artists, as well as those from further afield. The food is described as ‘French Cuisine dining with a Scandinavian twist’ and has rave reviews on TripAdvisor. We’d definitely recommend booking ahead, as they owner’s state ‘we cook for those who book’ which means you can be sure of freshly made food.

Three Buoys

This family-run gem is situated in Appley Park, and has panoramic views of the Solent back across to the mainland, as well as the beaches at Ryde. With an experienced team leading the restaurant, the food served is of a really high quality and is really well presented. The description on their website states the food is ‘elegant with big flavours’ and the TripAdvisor reviews seem to agree. Three Buoys also offers extensive, well thought-out vegan and vegetarian options as well, which can be tricky to find! The focus is on fresh seafood, and they even offer Moules Frit Fridays, with fresh mussels, lemon salted chips, garlic ciabatta and a glass of sauvignon blanc for £14, every Friday.

The Bandstand Cafe Restaurant

The Bandstand has been lovingly restored from an old bandstand which was put up for sale by the council, and although it’s traditional features have been kept, the new owners have also added modern finishes. An example would be the upper seating area, with large glass windows to allow the view to be appreciated. If you’re a boat lover, this is one of the best places to watch the boats going backwards and forwards across Sandown Bay and the Channel. There are menus for brunch, lunch and dinner, which means that whatever time of day you go, you will be able to choose from a wide selection of options. The decor is really well done and has kept original features such as wooden beams, and the building itself was awarded the IOW Conservation Award in 2016.

The Bargeman’s Rest

This traditional pub is set smack bang next to the River Medina, which gives it a different kind of view from the other restaurants on our list. Offering good, honest pub grub and fantastic portion sizes, The Bargeman’s Rest is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Newport, being the county town of the island, is a great place to explore the shops before heading here as well, so why not make a day of exploring this area of the island? The interior is characterful and traditional; think wooden floors and boating paraphernalia. And, there’s live music to enjoy most nights of the week, which definitely makes this place a must-visit whilst on holiday.

Off the Rails

This restaurant opened in 2014 on the site of the historic Yarmouth railway station. The restaurant offers views of the nearby countryside and the river, which makes it a particularly picturesque place to enjoy a bite to eat. Off the Rails offers extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, as well as cocktails and a variety of other drinks. If you’re taking your dog on holiday, this is a great place to visit, as they also offer dog food and even doggie ice cream! The restaurant has been tastefully decorated with railway themed interiors, and the old platform has become the outdoor seating area. The signal box has become a bird-watching hide as well, so you can get even closer to the surrounding countryside. The food offered includes a variety of meat and fish dishes, and there is a good selection of vegetarian and vegan meals as well.

Where to spot wildlife in the Purbecks

Dorset as a county is massively geologically diverse and indeed, ancient. With the spectacular Jurassic Coast detailing the history of the land, there is a wide variety of nature reserves, sites of special interest and plenty of fields across the county. Focussing mainly on the Isle of Purbeck, we wanted to suggest a few places where you could find some pretty interesting and rare species of bird, insect and fauna.

Arne Nature Reserve

This reserve, managed by the RSPB, is a stunning mixture of heathland and ancient woodland. Arne is situated near Wareham and Corfe, as well as being within a close drive of Swanage, Langton Matravers and Worth Matravers. The reserve sits within Poole Harbour (have a look on Google Maps to see what we mean!) which means you’ll be able to spot a variety of wading birds and those that love the water, however you’ll also be able to see some birds of prey as well. The reserve itself has plenty of walking trails, including some guided walks, a car park, cafe and a shop.

Studland and Godlingston Heath Nature Reserve

Every single reptile that is native to the UK can be found here, which makes this site so unique. The heath has an extremely varied geology, and has many different types of habitat, which unusually makes it a very inhospitable place. Because of this however, the plants and wildlife which do survive are of a much higher interest. You’ll also spot Agglestone Rock, which is said to have been thrown from the Needles by the devil and has landed in the heathland. Even if the devil himself didn’t through the rock, it’s pretty interesting as it’s not made up of the same material as the soil underneath; which begs the question, how did it get there?!

Brownsea Island

This island is the largest that sits within Poole Bay. As much as it might not technically form part of the Purbecks, it is extremely easy to get to and definitely worth a visit. You can take the chain ferry from Studland across to Sandbanks, and then take the yellow boat from Sandbanks to the island. Still home to numerous red squirrels, the island is also home to deer, lizards, minotaur beetles and peacocks. The northern half of the island is a dedicated nature reserve and has multiple bird hides overlooking the lagoon, lake and reed bed. Most famous for being the birthplace of the scouting movement, Brownsea Island was passed backwards and forwards between wealthy residents and now has many amenities and a full-time population of around 30.

Blue Pool

So called for the colour created by diffracting particles of fine clay within the water, Blue Pool is a flooded, disused clay pit. It’s near Furzebrook, and is easy to get to from Swanage and Corfe Castle. It’s surrounded by 25 acres of heath, woodland and gorse which make a wonderful habitat for many creatures such as; rabbits, badgers, foxes, deer and dragonflies. If you’re lucky, you might also see sand lizards and smooth snakes. There is a cafe at the sight, as well as a museum and gift shop. There are two clear paths around the pool, with one being suitable for most, and another perfect for wheelchair users or those with lower mobility.

Oakers Wood and Bog

This little known area is a beautiful mix of habitats. An open heath with wet bog and woodland, the area is home to the raft spider, damselflies, the sand lizard, smooth snakes, grasshoppers and crickets. The best way to explore is to park at Culpeppers Dish and walk down to Oakers. At the bottom of the hill, the road divides and goes one way to the bog and the other to the woodland. Explore both sides to get the full interest of the area. There are defined paths however very few other facilities, so this might not be the best area to take the kids.

Nature of Dorset has been a massively helpful resource in putting together this article, check out their website for as much nature information about Dorset as you could want!

Places to eat in the Purbecks with incredible views

The Cabin, Swanage

This outdoor cafe is a seasonal treat for those visiting Swanage, as it only pops up during the Summer. It’s situated along the private end of the beach, though anyone is allowed to walk down and take a seat. The menu offers a variety of fresh seafood and light bites, as well as a selection of drinks to wash it all down. The cafe has an adjoining shop where you can purchase beach equipment, which can be enjoyed on the beach in front of the cafe. The views are lovely, going from Bournemouth to your left, the Isle of Wight directly in front and Swanage itself to the right.

Shell Bay, Studland

This restaurant is set slightly back from the road to the Studland ferry crossing, but this does not get in the way of the view across to Brownsea Island and the other smaller islands in the water, as well as the heathland at Studland. It’s primarily a seafood restaurant and offers a wide selection of seafood, as well as some other choices, such as steak and Gnocchi. The restaurant has brilliant reviews on TripAdvisor and is extremely easy to get to, so is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

The Scott Arms, Kingston

A traditional countryside pub, The Scott Arms has possibly the best setting possible! It’s nestled in the Purbeck hills in Kingston, and has stunning views over to Corfe Castle. It’s an extremely historic pub, dating back to the 18th century, and is full of character. The food is standard fare for a pub, with all the usuals on offer, as well as regularly updated specials. They have a wide range of drinks available and are close to Corfe, Langton, Worth and Swanage.

The Bankes Arms, Studland

The Bankes Arms is well known for it’s attractive views and welcoming atmosphere. It’s perfect for walkers as it’s situated a little walk from the main Swanage-Studland route, as well as being easily accessible by car or bus. The view is looking over the sea towards Poole and Bournemouth, as well as taking in the beach at Studland. Well behaved dogs are welcome, and the pub has an extensive menu of pub classics, as well as selections for vegetarians and vegans. They also have an in-house brewery, where they brew ales to add to their selection.

Wessex Belle, Various

Confused by the heading?  The Wessex Belle is set on a train which runs from Swanage and back again, taking in the beautiful surrounding countryside so it’s not set in one location! The menu is varied with a focus on fine dining and there is a smart dress code to reflect this. From the reviews on Trip Advisor, this only adds to the intrigue and feel of the occasion. The food has consistently good reviews, and is definitely worth a visit if you’ll be celebrating a special occasion. The trains and the station are run by volunteers, so it’s a great way to donate to keeping the historic station alive.

New Bonny Blink Photos 2017

There are new photos of Bonny Blink self catering in Seaview Isle of Wight to show updates and changes for the 2017 self catering holiday season. This large and luxurious holiday home has a new bedroom available on the ground floor and there are numerous changes and updates across the property.

Bonny Blink is best known for its fantastic position by the sea and has immediate access to Seaview Beach. This sandy stretch of coast is a beautiful seaside location and the gently sloping beach has excellent swimming waters.

For a complete description showing updates and changes, as well as all the new photos, live availability, prices and online booking visit Bonny Blink Seaview Isle of Wight

Where to spot wildlife on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight’s climate and physical makeup makes it the perfect place to do a spot of wildlife watching. The island is home to over 200 species of birds, and with plenty of areas of water (lakes, rivers, creeks and of course, the sea) it’s a great place to spot wading birds, ducks and waterfowl. You’ll also find 43 of the UK’s 61 butterfly species, as well as plenty of exciting plants, insects and of course; red squirrels. No matter what kind of wildlife and nature you enjoy, there is sure to be somewhere you’ll enjoy in our list below.

The Medina Estuary

The River Medina is a hotbed for local wildlife. Many birds can be seen here, from little egrets, grey herons and curlews. You’ll also be able to spot red squirrels along the way. The estuary itself lies within a valley, and is bordered by mudflats and some areas of saltmarsh as well, which are vital to the ecosystem of the area. The saltmarsh areas provide a vital place for young birds to shelter in the summer, as well as a place to thrive for rare and vulnerable plant species.

Borthwood Copse

The remnants of the ancient woodland which used to cover most of the eastern side of the island, Borthwood Copse is one of the best places on the island to observe a huge range of wildlife. Covered in bluebells and other beautiful wildflowers during the spring, the trees take over the light come summer. And, once summer is over, the stunning colours of the changing trees becomes the view. Make the trip here for the chance to see all kinds of animals; dormice, bats and butterflies, as well as (of course!) the red squirrel.

Newton Nature Reserve

The only national nature reserve on the island, you can easily spend many hours exploring the ins and outs of the reserve. The medieval woodland features rare butterflies, red squirrels and plenty of different flowers and trees. You can also spot beautiful meadows of wildflowers and explore the numerous walking and flat, peaceful cycling tracks around the reserve. There’s a pond for spotting dragonflies, and three bird hides as well, where you’ll find volunteers ready to answer your questions.

St Helens Duver shoreline

The shoreline of the Duver attracts lots of different types of wildlife, and offers a different experience to the more woodland and river habitats above. The fine sands are perfect for rock pools, in which you can find whelks, limpets and periwinkles. You might also be able to spot small fish such as Guppies or Blennies, and there has even been the occasional seahorse, small lobster and shrimp spotted! You’re also likely to find various kinds of crabs such as hermit crabs, porcelain crabs and shore crabs. There is also a plethora of insect life to be seen, from bees, wasps and spiders to grasshoppers and crickets.

Mottistone

The gardens of Mottistone Estate are absolutely stunning, with a large amount of varied plants including Mexican fleabane and rose bushes. The plants are much loved by bees and butterflies alike. The common is home to many species of birds including the nocturnal nightjars, which may be spotted in the highest areas and in the right conditions (they like hot weather.) You might also spot buzzards and ravens. The churchyard is home to beautiful wildflowers in the summer, and there are many types of birds such as bluetits, wrens, great tits and robins.

Image – By Christine Matthews, CC BY-SA 2.0

Redway Farm Cycle Network Access

We have a photo showing just how perfectly situated Redway Farm is located for cyclists and walkers wishing to have access to the old railway line cycle track which acts as a speedy way for cyclists and walkers to access Godshill, Shanklin and Carisbrooke.

As you can see, the farm is located within 300 meters of the main cycle route to Shanklin and Sandown and is connected by a track. All the cottages at Redway Farm have easy access by cycling down past the lake, along the track and onto the cycle path.

Redway Farm Cottages include Hackney Stable Cottage, Parlour Cottage, Fodder Stable Cottage and The Brew House. For more information visit Redway Farm Cottages

Shiloh Cottage New Photos 2017

Shiloh Cottage near Whitwell on the South East of the Isle of Wight is a rural family self catering cottage ideal for family holidays within a short drive of the beaches at Ventnor and Shanklin. Shiloh cottage also makes a wonderful base for those wishing to cycle or walk as the area is criss-crossed with numerous walks and footpaths. Many Isle of Wight attractions and destinations are within cycling distance of this self catering cottage.

Shiloh Cottage has had a number of updates and improvements for the 2017 holiday season and the new photos reflect these changes.

For more information and all the new photos visit Shiloh Cottage Self Catering Isle of Wight